How To Prepare Your Website For The New Year

How To Prepare Your Website For The New Year

As a small business, it can be difficult to find time to keep on top of  website maintenance throughout the year. Plugins aren’t updated, old offers still active, blogs deserted and everything looks a little tired.

That’s why January is the perfect time to dust the cobwebs off your website and make changes to set you up for the new year.

If you’re not sure where to start, help is on hand with my 6 tips for preparing your website for the new year.

1 // Update WordPress and all your plugins

If you’ve neglected to maintain your website infrastructure for a while, now is the time to get up to date with the latest versions. WordPress and plugins regularly release updates with new features and security patches. To decrease the chance of encountering a breach from a rogue plugin or security hole, get the latest versions installed.

2 // Check your pages

Spend time going through each page on your website to ensure your content is still relevant. It can be easy to put off checking the content on your website, and before you know it – your showing services and prices from two years ago.

3 // Analyse your website performance

It’s important to keep a watchful eye on your website stats each month but it’s especially true at the end of the year. Getting a clear picture of what is working, where visitors are finding your site and what pages are popular will help you market your website better.

You may think the Google ads you pay for each month are sending potential clients to your website or that Facebook is your best traffic source. But without the hard data, you’ll never know. You could find out that the areas you are investing time and money in aren’t generating worthwhile gains.

Google analytics combined with Search Console will arm you with a heap of insights into how your website is performing.

4 // Run security checks

Maintaining website security is a task you should never overlook. By making a few simple updates you can prevent serious headaches and the chances of being hacked.

  • Take a backup of all your files and database so you have a fall back if ever something goes wrong. Then install a plugin to automate this process, BackupBuddy or UpdraftPlus are good options.
  • Install an SSL certificate, if you don’t have one. SSL certificates are becoming an industry standard for websites and show that you want to protect your visitors. A number of website hosts offer free Let’s Encrypt SSL so it won’t even cost you anything to install.
  • Change passwords on your admin and website accounts.
  • Install a security plugin like iThemes or Wordfence to monitor and protect your site.

5 // Strategise your SEO

If you want your website to be found on search engines, you’ll need an SEO strategy. The world of search engine optimisation is always evolving so it’s essential that you review and make changes frequently.

  • Update your meta titles and descriptions on your pages and posts
  • Prepare and plan new content for your blog
  • Work on improving Local SEO 
  • Optimise your pages to improve the speed

6 // Review and fix website errors

Errors are impossible to avoid. You may have deleted a page or post, edited a link, not linked something correctly – it happens to everyone. And while it’s not the end of the world, it will generate an error for your users which doesn’t give a good impression.

Thankfully, it is easy to fix. Broken links from deleted pages and posts can be fixed with 301 redirects, using a plugin like ‘Redirection’.

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If you’d like help with website updates so you don’t have to worry about them, get in touch to ask about my maintenance packages. Or check out my ‘Audit & Optimise‘ package that aims to enhance and improve your current website.

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